On Being a Girl…

Real Girl“Being a girl is whatever you decide it is.”  I cannot tell you how many times we told our daughter this the first few months of her transition.  She dove in head first, and we watched her discard so much of what she had liked before, because at seven that’s what you think you have to do.  She wore dresses almost all the time, wouldn’t play video games, or watch her old favorite TV shows.  She dove into girly TV shows, and tried to exclusively play with girl toys.  She already had an idea of societal expectations of what it meant to be a girl, and even at seven thought she had to adhere to such things.  As her parents, it was our job to remind her that she was her own person, and that there was no one way she, or any girl had to be.  Slowly, she began to take up some of those things that she had liked before.  She got back into sports (is a kick-ass soccer player), and she started to play video games again.  She also started wearing what makes her comfortable.  She’s active and now eight.  She likes dresses, but doesn’t wear them often, because as she puts it, “I like to play hard, and dresses aren’t for doing that.”  She’s figured out what being a girl means to her, and as a result has become happier with who she is.

This same dilemma faces anyone going through transition.  Yes, I’m female on the inside and always have been, but I also spent over 40 years playing boy, and so figuring out my sense of style, and my projected identity is still something that I needed to do, and to be honest it has happened pretty quickly.  I also buck the trend of many trans women I know, and I couldn’t give two shits about what society or even the trans community thinks I should be.  It’s my life after all, and for me, being a woman is more than just a dress and makeup.  Those are trappings and decoration, and for some they give comfort and solace, but for me they really don’t matter much.  Will I wear a dress or use makeup when I do go full-time?  Yes, of course I will, but those things don’t define my womanhood.  My gender is female, what I wear doesn’t change that, or make it more so.

I get asked all the time, by my therapist, other trans people, family, and friends about my expression.  Playing boy most days at work means that most people I know see me in male clothes on a regular basis.  This isn’t by choice, but out of necessity, and because I can handle doing this for work.  Some feel the need to come out right away and live as their “authentic” selves, which to me feels like a loaded term.

Webster’s defines Authentic as “worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact.”  This would suggest that one must prove themselves worthy of being seen as a woman to be treated as such, but who decides what being seen as a woman is?  Cis women have argued and fought these definitions for centuries, and so it should not be a surprise that trans women also deal with the struggle to define what womanhood is for them.

Is it the clothes I wear?  Use of make-up?  Things I like?  Thing I don’t like?  My ability to pass?  All of these things may impact how others view me, but they don’t speak to how I see myself.  I accepted I was female before I began hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  I knew it without a doubt, and as a result I started to let some of the shackles I had placed on myself fall to the ground.  Still others remain.  It is no easy task to shed decades of masking, but acceptance is the first step, and HRT also has helped immensely.

I’ve shared that it was at the three week mark on HRT that something slid home in my brain, and it was like for the first time my brain started working the right way.  Something else also happened that week which would help to shift my brain, and it was the realization that my breasts had begun to develop.  For me, early on, breast growth fundamentally changed the way I saw myself and how I wanted to interact with the world.  It was a confirmation that transition was absolutely the right choice for me, and while it made me a little nervous at first considering how I might hide them, and concerns around work, etc.  I was also ecstatic about them, as an obvious sign that my body was definitely responding to HRT, and beginning to feminize in a way I had always wanted.

It wouldn’t be until around four weeks on HRT that I’d start to really think about clothing, and a desire to have clothes for “me.”  However, I had to consider what my style was.  I also would and still do spend minutes every day staring at my naked body in the mirror.  It doesn’t cause me crippling dysphoria, but it does cause me to wince or grimace on the inside.  How I present to the world matters to me.  Presenting male or female I want to look my best.  I still have a body (minus the boobs) that most men over 40 would kill for, and I hate it, but it is the body I have to work with.  As a result, dresses and makeup really don’t put it or me in the best light.  Putting womanhood aside, I had to ask myself again, who am I?

I am an athletic, outdoorsy, hippie chick.  I love to play soccer, specifically goalkeeper, and how many women can say they’ve backpacked over 3,000 miles or happily gone six days without a shower?  I love tattoos and want piercings.  Give me Chaco sandals in the summer and Dr. Marten boots in the colder months.  I love the way my muscular legs look in skinny jeans or shorts.  I love tank tops and over-sized sweaters.  I don’t wear makeup yet, and may never wear much except for work, as I also love to sweat and workout.

After a long day at work I want to come home, workout, take a hot shower, and put on comfy clothes that I can relax in.  I know some girls come home and need to immediately put on a dress and makeup, but that isn’t me.  Neither way is wrong, and neither way makes one of us more or less a woman.

I remember reading the book “Tranny” and the chapter where Laura Jane Grace talks about her struggle to get her therapist to write her letter for HRT.  She was already dressing full time as a woman, but a woman who was the lead singer of a punk rock band, which meant she favored black skinny jeans and black tank-tops.  She had been writing trans-centric lyrics for years, and yet she would return week after week trying to get this male therapist to write her letter, until it dawned on her that he had to see what “he” thought it meant to be a trans woman, and so she returned the next session in full make-up and a dress, and got her letter for HRT.  Thanks to the media, cis folk have preconceived notions of what a trans woman is, and even trans people fall into the trap of societal norms and conventions.

I’ve had quite a few girls gush about how exciting it will be for me when I start wearing dresses and make-up.  The fact that I can do those things, isn’t what excites me, not even in the least…ok, I admit there might be some fun there, but what excites me is that the wearing of such things will mean my body has feminized to the point that I feel it looks more female than male.  What I put on it is secondary to me.  What matters most to me is how I see myself.  I am my own worst critic, and that knowledge scares me at times.

Most people who know me as Allie, know me for my positive attitude, and my sense of humor over the whole transition experience.  However, like any girl, there is that side to me that I hide from most, because I think people don’t want to see that side of me.  I have moments every day where I hate myself, and I hate being trans all the time.  That hate never goes away, and I don’t know if it ever will.  I have fears that my body will never pass, and that even with facial feminization surgery (FFS) that I will never be seen as the gender I am.  That fear kept me from accepting myself for the past decade, and while I am happy I finally pushed past it, being me is anything but sunshine and rainbows.

All of the above said, I would never go back, HRT has brought color to my life, and I have hope for the future.  Most of the time I have hope that I will pass, and that I will get to do those things I’ve dreamed of doing out in the open as a woman.  Many of them are simple things, little things that will give me the validation I want, and they may not seem exclusively female, but much of what we like in the world rarely is gender specific.

I look forward to playing soccer on a women’s team, and building camaraderie with female teammates for the first time in my life.  I look forward to returning to the yoga studio as myself.  I look forward to weight training again and rebuilding my body the way I want it.  I look forward to going shopping with girlfriends, or just out for dinner and getting ma’amed instead of sirred.  I look forward to not having to shave every day, and especially a stubble free face.  I look forward to more piercings, painting my fingernails, and yes I do look forward to being able to wear skirts and dresses, along with pretty underthings that look right on my body.

I look forward to FFS and gender confirmation surgery (GCS).  Not all girls get these things or feel that they need them, and you certainly do not need a vagina to be female. However, my physical appearance (what I see when I stand in front of the mirror naked) is vital to my feeling complete, and the confidence that will come with feeling complete will mean so much to how I interact with the world.  For me, the end result cannot come fast enough.

However, even without all of the above, I am still female, a girl, a woman.  Most of the above are simply modes of expression, and so often we all get caught up in blending gender with expression, when the two are not the same.  We need to start asking ourselves why is it so important to us that men and women fit certain societal conventions of how they are supposed to express.  Why does it matter and who does it hurt if someone acts outside of those conventional expectations?  We all have one life to live, mine is already almost half over, and I have yet to really start living as myself.  I have no energy left to really care what people think anymore, and within the next few months I’m going to begin pushing the boundaries of people’s expectations.  I may keep presenting male at work, but get both ears pierced and cover/feminize old tattoos.  After all, these are little things that will make me happy and feel more myself.  In the end, like I still tell my daughter…being a girl is whatever I decide it is, and maybe it’s time I start “being” just a little bit more.

HRT: Month 2 Update

2-monthsTwo months down already, and so I’m back to talk about where I’m at and everything new that happened during my second month of HRT.

This time around I’m going to start with my measurement changes, and from there I will talk about everything else….so without further ado, lets get into it.

Day 1, Month 1 measurements:

  • Weight:  244lbs
  • Chest:  42.5 inches (underbust:  41 inches)
  • Waist:  38 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  40 inches
  • Hips:  43 inches
  • Neck:  16 inches
  • Bicep:  15 inches
  • Wrist:  7 inches
  • Ankle:  9.5 inches

Day 1, Month 3 measurements:

  • Weight:  239.2lbs
  • Chest:  40.5 inches (underbust:  38 inches)
  • Waist:  35 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  37.5 inches
  • Hips:  41.5 inches
  • Neck:  15 inches
  • Bicep:  14 inches
  • Wrist:  6.5 inches
  • Ankle:  9 inches

So, I did gain two pounds from the beginning of the month, but my measurements continued to shrink, regardless of the slight weight gain, and that makes me extremely happy.  I thought I’d break the change discussion into three categories:  physical, mental, and parental warning:  sexual.  In my mind changes this month were just as significant as the first, and in some ways maybe more.  At least, for me they were.

Physical Changes

Breast Development:  I woke up the second day of HRT month two with an ache in my breasts that hasn’t left since it started.  Month one saw the beginning of my breast development and month two saw it continue.  I also saw my chest muscle continue to soften while my bra size went from a 42A to a 40B.  I’m becoming more comfortable talking about it as I probably should wear something everyday, but I don’t.  This is partly due to work, as I will admit if I were full time I’d be going bra shopping instead of wearing shelf camisoles and bralettes.  For now, the latter is good enough due to the significant chest muscle I still have, but as it goes more and more  I have a feeling I”m going to need more support.  At this point, I get the pain of running up and down stairs, or even just running period…like, it really hurts.  Funny enough, the pain makes me smile, as it simply reminds me that I’m finally getting the body I’ve always wanted.

Fat Distribution:  This really started to show during the second month, as I’ve started  to notice a softening to the way my muscles show through the skin.  The first place I noticed this was on my torso, specifically my midsection.  For those that follow me on Facebook and Twitter I did post comparison pictures that highlighted these changes:

 

The first picture above was taken a month before HRT and the second picture was six weeks on HRT.  Along with the redistribution which you can see, my skin is much softer as well.  My legs which have always been chiseled, are still defined but slightly smaller, and they now have a slightly softer look to them, which I only noticed in the past week.

Estrogen redistributes fat into female patterns, but won’t actually move fat, however it will make use of what you have where it needs it, and I’ve seen this start to happen on my hips, my chest, and my butt.  I haven’t seen much start to happen with my face, but it will come when it does.  While weight didn’t come off in the last month, my body fat percentage is right where it should be.  I’m currently sitting at about 24% body fat, and the ideal body fat for a 43 year old woman is 22.5%.  Knowing this, my goal is now to make sure it doesn’t go up while trying to continue to shed weight.  As the muscle starts to shed, the weight should go down…or I have to make sure it does.  I think I have a pretty good handle on this, and am excited to see when this starts to happen.

Muscle Mass:  It seems to be on the decline, but as I’ve learned from other girls it does seem the strength is starting to go faster than the actual muscle.  This started with muscle endurance first, but in the last week I’ve noticed that certain things have gotten just a little heavier, which I’m just fine with.  I’ve noticed my arms are thinning out, as is my chest, and my legs.  My shoulders and my back muscles are still hanging on, and I can’t wait for them to start going as well, but the other changes are enough to tide me over and give me confidence that they will soon start to go as well.  On another note, while I continue to work my legs by doing cardio, just having a snowball fight the other day with the kids has my back and obliques sore like I put them through a workout.  I think I need to start doing some plank exercises as part of a maintenance routine until my body gets to a size where I can introduce strength training again.

Overall, my physical changes have me excited and have had me buying new female clothes, while getting rid of older male clothes.  Nothing fancy or super expensive as my body still has quite a bit of changing to do, but I’ve noticed other than slim or skinny fit, most men’s pants seem to leave a bit too much room in the legs and butt.  Not sure how this happened as they still look big to me, but clothes fit the way they fit, and clearly they’re starting to fit me differently.  All that said, my women’s jeans seem to be fitting me better, and I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store.

Miscellaneous:  My skin continues to get softer and at the end of month one, confirmed in month two I can say that I no longer smell like a boy.  My sweat doesn’t stink and neither do my armpits.   I can wear the same sports bra for multiple workouts without the stink factor arising immediately.  I’ve also started to get more sensitive to heat and cold, which is a nice change of pace as I’m not always on the verge of sweating like in days past!

 

Mental Changes

This continues to be a place that in many ways gives me the greatest satisfaction, but also causes some turmoil at times.  In the last month I continue to feel more myself, and when with people, especially other women that know “me,” it has become almost impossible for me not to express female.  It is something that I now do unconsciously, and only realize it once I am in conversation.  I have to remind myself when with people I don’t know to pull it back a little.

It becomes harder to put on guy clothes each work day, and go to work.  I still do it, but it does cause me anxiety that is worse at the beginning of the week.  It gets better as the week goes on and I get closer to the weekend.  I know this is totally normal, and I deal as best I can, because it is what I need to do for the time being, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I hope my changes start coming even faster so I can stop playing the “boy” charade.  As the brain changes faster, it is impossible for the body to keep up.  You get to a point where you just want to be you, and I understand why some gals go full-time so quickly.  The temptation is there for me too!  However, while I know I am a woman, when I go full time at work I want people to see that as well.  It is important to me that this happen, and remembering that will keep me on the path that I’ve laid out for me.

This past week, I forgot for the first time, while at the store that I was playing boy.  I had just finished paying and the cashier said, “Thank you, sir.  Have a great day!”  I paused for a second before responding because my brain went, he just called you sir!  You’re not a sir…oh wait, yeah, right…  Afterwards it made me laugh, and while it might cause others dysphoria…I was presenting male, and it also gave me a warm fuzzy to realize my brain, and how I see myself has intrinsically changed for the better.  It’s not something that’s going to make me sad.  However, I will admit that if I had been presenting female and been “sirred” then it certainly would have messed with me in a bad way, so I think it important to set the distinction down.

Finally, the way in which I interact with others continues to change, and the way other’s who know me, especially women, confirms this.  I now care more, think of others more, and continue to relate to other women better than before.  This is not to say women have the market cornered on caring or being empathetic, but it’s the way I go about it, and I know I’m doing a poor job of describing it, but it’s just something I know has changed about myself.  I see it in my interactions with my wife and kids as well.  Much of this could also have to do with just being happy with who I am now.  There is no discounting that not all mental changes are due to HRT directly…some are simply down to feeling good about my future.

(Warning…) Sexual Changes

Changes here are minor this month, and so there isn’t much to say.  For one, I didn’t have much of a desire to experiment or test things, and so I simply didn’t.  I typically don’t think about sex unless I’m going to fantasize, and while I will admit the nature of my fantasies has changed, both when I’m awake or when dreaming (I’m never a man or  have male anatomy anymore).  As for physical, I might be seeing slight shrinkage of my testicles, but not entirely sure at this point.  I’m also continuing to see a decreased volume of what comes out, and the consistency is becoming more watery in nature.

Wrap-Up

Overall, I am happy with the changes I’m seeing as I continue moving forward.  I see my doctor on the 20th, and I hope to increase both my spiro and my estrodiol.  Still waiting to see a couple big ticket things start to change, but it give me something to look forward to, and so I will continue to eye my future with positivity.

My Brain Hurts…

Brain Hurts

Last Friday I heard from my family regarding the letters I sent them.  They all sent texts to me, because texts are safe.  You don’t have to show emotion or get emotion in a text.  They said all the right things, that they love and support me unconditionally, and it did mean a lot to me, but it wasn’t all that I needed, and I don’t know when I will get all that I need from them.

Coming out to people is mentally exhausting.  I’ve already decided that now that I am out to my immediate family I will only come out to people, if and when I need to, because of how exhausting it actually is.  The act of telling someone I am intersex and transgender isn’t the hard part of the coming out.  Instead, the hard part of coming  is the time spent explaining to the other person that I will be OK, and the time spent making sure that they are OK with me being…me.

I talked to my mother three days after she got the letter I sent her, and I walked away from the phone call feeling off about it all.  I spent the next day and a half in a darkening mood as I tried to figure out why the call bothered me so much.  It wasn’t a bad call, but it wasn’t a good call either.  Instead it was a safe call, as if my mom was afraid to show any emotion, and so the topics stuck to transition related stuff, which in turn also included the issue of passing.  As a result, I spent the call basically justifying who I was and making sure she was OK with this.  It will also be the last time I do this…I hope.

It isn’t my job to make sure you are OK with who I am, that’s your issue to deal with.  I have a shit shack full of my own issues with out adding yours to the mix.  Are you sad, scared, worried, or concerned with what others will think?  If so, then you need to work that out and keep it to yourself, because guess what…I’ve thought about it ten times, no, one hundred times more than you will ever think about it.

I’ve thought about the effects on my marriage, my kids, my job, my body, my health, and I could go on with the list.  I’ve thought about passing, living full-time, safety, how people will see me, and how people will treat me in such minute detail, and I will continue to do so, long after you stop.  This is “my” life, so of course I think about these things…I live these things, or will as I move forward.  Transition, and everything about it dominates my thoughts and life.

If you are trans and reading this, then I am guessing you are nodding along, as I know you have dealt with this, and like me will probably continue to deal with this.  In some ways it is the shittiest part of being transgender, and I fear that if I never “pass” that it is something I will always deal with…and probably on some level I will anyways, because dysphoria never goes away entirely.

It is such an easy thing for people to take their worries back from a trans person they care about.  How?  Don’t dump your concerns and fears on the person coming out to you.  Instead, you could hug them, tell them you love them, you support them, and that no matter what you’ll be there to help and see them go where they want to.

In the case of my mom, I just wanted her to be my mom.  I wanted to hear her say she loves me, and that she will be there no matter what.  And this is where I get selfish…because I know she has already expressed this to me, but I wanted to…needed to…hear it.  I wanted to feel the emotion of her love, and I didn’t get that with the first phone call.  I’m sure I will get it in the future, and I don’t want to paint her as being wrong, or that I’m mad at her.  I’m not mad at her, after all she has talked to me.  I also found out from my sister-in-law (through my wife) that my mom is hurting bad right now.  My biggest fear in coming out was that she would hurt when she realized how long I had been hiding and that she never knew.  As a parent you would do anything to keep your child from pain, and when you find you didn’t or couldn’t do it…it breaks your heart a little.  Knowing this, I’m giving her the benefit of time to let her process.  It isn’t my problem that she feels this way.  She’s a mom, and so it can’t be avoided, but I can give her time to deal.  I’ve thought about sending her a text to tell her that it isn’t her fault and that I don’t blame her or my dad for anything, but there will still be a part of her that feels like she should have known.  I tear up thinking about it, because this could easily have been my daughter and I thirty-some years from now.  Being trans and having a trans child puts me in a unique position to get both perspectives on this.  I want what I want, and yet I also can empathize with what she is feeling.

Let me be clear…I am not in a bad mood as I write this, and actually feel like I’m in a pretty good place.  My mood always gets better as the week goes on, and this is another source of mental exhaustion.  These days my weekends are almost always good.  I get to be me all weekend, even if most people see boy…I’m good with it, because I get to wear what I want and express as I will.  I don’t have to be him or think like him, and I love every minute of it.  As the week goes on and I get closer to the weekend, my mood improves because I know I won’t have to play the part for a couple days.  Conversely, as the weekend comes to a close I become anxious and depressed because I have to put the man suit back on for another work week.  Luckily, I work from home on Mondays and so it’s only four days, but my brain is already at the point where it doesn’t give a krap…it simply wants to be, and I wish I could let it.

This means exhaustion also comes from my need to hold off presenting full-time.  I know many gals jump right in, and this is why they do so.  It’s too hard for them not do so, and perhaps they don’t have the constraints that I have in my life.  There can be a myriad of reasons for why we go full-time when we do.  For me, it isn’t time yet.  It’s not because I don’t want to, but rather because I want to go full-time when I feel the time is right.  However, knowing the time isn’t right doesn’t give me comfort, after all logic and emotion are often at odds with one another.  Logically, I should wait and plan it out, so that I can maximize the greatest benefit for me and my family.  Emotionally, I want to say “Fuck It!”  This is who I am, deal with it.  These two sides being at odds with one another in my head can be draining, and I don’t see it ending anytime soon, but I know it will end.  I just have to keep my eye on the glimmer at the end of the tunnel and hold to the idea that one foot in front of the other gets me where I want to go.

Now all of the above, plus add in hormones, mood swings, and all the normal day to day stuff everyone deals with.  You can start to see why one might have mental exhaustion issues.  Usually sleep rejuvenates me, but this week with the added stress of coming out I haven’t been getting that emotional rejuvenation, and so I just feel tired every day.  If I didn’t have my emotional support network…if I was alone…then I don’t know where I’d be, but it wouldn’t be a good place.

I have my wife and my friends to thank for helping me get through this week, and for bringing me out of my funk.  My wife was there over the weekend giving me support while I started to stress about talking/not talking to my mom.  My friends were there to get me out of my funk after I talked to my mom.  Some friends just listened and offered words of understanding and comfort.  One friend, in particular, who is becoming a really good friend, just made me laugh and smile, because she seems to get me on a level that I never had a male friend ever get me on.  She, in large part, was responsible for getting me out of my dark place this week, and I’m thankful to have her in my life.

The takeaway from this post and the one I want cis people to walk away with is that your mental exhaustion and mine are not the same thing.  You don’t have to pretend to be someone else half your week, every week. You don’t have to regularly justify your existence or make others feel better about the fact that you exist as yourself.  If you have a trans person in your life, please remember this.  Remember, they don’t need to hear most of what you think.  What they need to hear is your positivity and support.  What they need from you is to simply be a loved one and/or a friend.  If they bring up worries or concerns then by all means talk about them.  If you have questions ask them, but do it in a way that comes from a desire to learn, and not from a place of worry or fear.  We do enough of that on our own, even if you don’t see it.  Yes, I try to be positive and outgoing to the world, but that doesn’t mean I don’t fear and worry.  It just means I don’t want to constantly shoulder others with my problems, and yes, most of the time, I’m in a good mood.  I would venture to say this is the case for many trans people out there.

Tomorrow is a new day, and next week, a new week…and before that a weekend with blessed sleep!  I look forward to the future, because every day there is something that moves me forward.  Even though I get exhausted sometimes…I like where my life is heading…I just wish I could get there a little faster.

Also finally changed my video…I thought “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam was appropriate for this week.

 

Personal Notes to Dad and Brother

Family-Silhouette-3

So, I posted the main body of my family coming out letter yesterday and I said I would post the personal notes to my father and brother.  Parts of these are identical to my mother’s but I didn’t want to cut it out…so without further stalling…here they are:

Personal Note to Dad

Dad, growing up you set the image of what I thought I was supposed to be as a man.  I always wanted your love, respect, and admiration.  I know you have always loved me to death, and would do anything for me.  I know one of your biggest concerns in life is that I am safe.  I hope this is your biggest concern as I share this with you.  As a child, one of the safest places I’ve ever been in life, at least in my mind, along with some of my warmest memories I have, are when you’d wrap me up in a hug, and the feeling of absolute security that would envelope me.  I always felt like you’d always keep me safe.  Part of me still believes that, even while my adult self says that’s my job.  Your love and support just might do what part of me still believes it can…make everything OK, and keep me safe.  I know this will be weird at first, but my hope is that my slow transition will make it easier.  I can’t know for sure, but I want to believe like that little kid so many years ago…that you love me, and would never do anything to ever hurt me.

I think you know how hard this is for me to tell you, and I hope you can still love me, and that you will still want to be a part of my life, but I also must accept as I write this that there is the chance that I could be completely wrong, and so I partly write and send a letter to protect myself.  Next to Wife, there are three people in the world that have the power to lift me up and the power to destroy me.  You, Mom, and Brother are those three people.  As for the rest, I couldn’t give two shits what they think.  I’m past worrying about pleasing others, or trying to be what I think they want me to be.

When you decide to text me, or email me I want you to remember the following things as they are important to me.  Please do not call me in disbelief, anger, or the notion that you can get me to change my mind, or that this is a joke, or that it’s a phase, or that I’ve lost my mind.  Those things are non-starters for me.  Also, please don’t tell me that I’m going to fast…I’m 43 now, and have known I was different since 5…there is no such thing as too fast from where I stand.

So what can we talk about?  You can ask me questions, about the past, about me currently, or about the future.  You can ask me how I’m doing.  You can give me your love and support.  You can simply talk to me like you always have.  I’m still the same person on the inside, except I no longer feel burdened by having to hide things in my private life.

If I don’t hear from you, then I will know you can’t accept it yet, or you have anger and other issues to work through, and that is ok.  I will have to accept that, learn to deal with it, and live my life, because I can’t go backwards.

I know you and Mom will be worried and scared for me, and as my parents I would expect nothing else.  I am scared and worried for myself at times, but I also know that I don’t have a choice in this…for the first time I understand why someone might want to kill themselves over this, because I know the circumstances where I would do so, and it is a sobering realization.

Finally, I want you to know that I will be ok, and that I know what I am doing, as much as anyone can.  I’m actually looking forward to what the future brings…for the first time in my life.  I hope that you will be part of that future, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Love,

 

Personal Note to Brother

I want you to know that I love you, and that if you are the brother and man that I think you are that this may take time to wrap your mind around, but that ultimately you can accept me for who I am, and get to know me that way.  No matter what, in my eyes, you will always be my little brother and I will always be there for you if you need me.

I hope you can still love me, and that you will still want to be a part of my life, but I also must accept as I write this that there is the chance that I could be completely wrong, and so I partly write and send a letter to protect myself.  Next to Wife, there are three people in the world that have the power to lift me up and the power to destroy me.  You, mom, and dad are those three people.  As for the rest, I couldn’t give two shits what they think.  I’m past worrying about pleasing others, or trying to be what I think they want me to be.

When you decide to pick up the phone and call me I want you to remember the following things as they will be important in having a real conversation.  Please do not call me in disbelief, anger, or the notion that you can get me to change my mind, or that this is a joke, or that it’s a phase, or that I’ve lost my mind.  Those things are non-starters for me.  Also, don’t tell me that I’m going to fast…I’m 43 now, and have known I was different since 5…there is no such thing as too fast from where I stand.

So what can we talk about?  You can ask me questions, about the past, about me currently, or about the future.  You can ask me how I’m doing.  You can give me your love and support.  You can simply talk to me like you always have.  I’m still the same person on the inside, except I no longer feel burdened by having to hide shit in my private life.

If I don’t hear from you, then I will know you can’t accept it yet, or you have anger and other issues to work through, and that is ok.  I will have to accept that, learn to deal with it, and live my life, because I can’t go backwards.

Please talk to mom and dad.  My letters to them will be more detailed about my past, and incidents that might help them connect the dots.  Also, please be there for them.  I can’t be there right now, and they may need you, so I am sorry to put this on you.  There’s no way to know for sure how they will take it.  I think mom will accept it faster than dad, but I could be wrong about that.  I know they will worry, be scared, and a multitude of other things.

I want you all to know that I will be ok, and that I know what I am doing, as much as anyone can.  I’m actually looking forward to what the future brings…for the first time in my life.  I hope that you will be part of that future, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Love,

Letter to Mom

Mom

My parents and brother should be getting their letters today and so I wanted to begin to post those letters here.  As I’ve said before, I am using this blog to chronicle my transition, and this is a huge part of how it will go.  In addition, if this letter can help someone else craft their own message to loved ones then I am happy to share it here.  Names have been removed for privacy, and the journal entry I reference is the very first post on my home page, modified for greater brevity.  I will post the personal sides to my Dad and brother tomorrow…the body for all three is almost identical and you can see it here.  Hopefully they all respond as I expect them to and I will have something positive to write about next week, but either way I will write about honestly and from the heart.

Here is the letter as it was sent to my Mom:

Dear Mom,

I’ve thought long and hard about how I wanted to share the news I am about to share with you.  I opted to write a letter because I have always been better with expressing what I wanted to say on paper, and because I want to give you the opportunity to process and think about what I am about to share with you.  What I am about to tell you may not be easy for you to accept but it is real and it is happening.  Dad and Brother have or will be getting similar letters that I have written just for them.  I am sure you will probably talk to them before you talk to me, and that’s OK.  I know you will have concerns, worries, and questions and I am here to answer those questions when you are ready to talk.  This will be an emotional situation for all involved, and I am seriously exposing myself here like I will do for only my family.

By now you may be thinking I’m dying or some equally bad shit is happening, and I don’t want to draw out the tension any further, and so I will simply cut to the chase.  Over the past year I’ve been examining so much of who I am.  Part of it had to do with Daughter’s coming out and a big part of it had to do with something medically that was discovered about me.  Let me say right now…I am not dying, but mentally I was heading towards self-harm if I didn’t face certain truths about myself.

I want to begin with a quick biology lesson.  Everyone pretty much accepts that males are born with 46XY chromosomes and females are born with 46XX chromosomes.  This is pretty basic, but I found out I am not basic.  Doctors are pretty certain I was born with 46XY and 46XX chromosomes which makes me what is known as chimera intersex.  They know this because I have both XY and XX blood cells in my body, and that is typically the only way this can happen.  Unfortunately, this can only be confirmed in the womb or on an autopsy table, because it literally would mean my body is a patchwork of XY and XX on the inside.  I could have a kidney that is XX and a kidney that is XY.  The lining of my stomach could be XX, and the rest of my stomach could be XY.  I could have muscles that are XX and muscles that are XY (doctors think my right side might be heavily influenced by XX chromosomes).  Finally, parts of my brain and endocrine system could be XX as well.

How does this happen?  Well, most likely scenario is that there were two eggs fertilized, one male and one female.  As they descended right after conception the two zygotes fused together to become one.  If it had happened a little after it did then conjoined twins result, but instead I got lucky and hit the sweet spot…so essentially I absorbed my female twin and we became one person.

I’m intersex, now what?  Well, obviously there is more to it than that, and you may already have an idea of where I am going with this.  If I was born today, then doctors could have run the test that would have told them this, and they could have shared with you that based upon the Surgeon General’s recommendations that I should be allowed to grow up and determine my gender at puberty, as there is no way of knowing how I will feel as I get older, and how my brain will identify.  Unfortunately, I was born in 1974, before the test could be run, and when gender was simply decided by what could be seen with the eyes.

Without writing an autobiography connecting dots throughout my life (I’ve included a journal entry I wrote that discusses this to a point and am happy to talk about this if you need me to help you see those dots), suffice it to say I have known since the age of 5 that I was different.  I never felt like I fit in anywhere, but I also knew that talking about some of the feelings I had wouldn’t fly, and so I pushed them down and tried to be more like dad, be more like my friends, and simply keep so much to myself.  I wasn’t happy with myself as a child.  I know you can remember issues I had and much of those were tied to how I felt.  These feelings never went away, I just learned how to hide them better, and when you thought they might be for one reason, well, I just let you assume rather than tell you the truth.

As I got older I was both attracted to girls and jealous of what they had that I did not…on so many levels.  I sucked it up, and pushed on.  I would often find myself saying things like “If I was a girl…” always rationalizing that I could never be, and that I just had to make the best of what I had.  This would continue, the pattern of longing and denial until last year.  Daughter’s coming out made me face my past as I accepted that I could no longer run.  Coupled with finding out I was intersex these two things basically caused me to have a nervous breakdown this past summer.

Awareness of who I was, and internalized shame and self-hate had me verbally lashing out at Wife and the kids all summer, to the point that she was within weeks of taking the kids and leaving me, and I had no clue.  Finally, I accepted that I am intersex and also choose to identify as transgender.  Once I accepted this I talked with Wife and explained that I needed to get therapy.  I started therapy in August, and in October I also started hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to begin a transition to change my body from male to female.  Wife knows and accepts that I have to do this, and we have also told the kids.  At this time, things have calmed down and things are better than they have been in a long time within the family.  As for Wife and I, only time will tell, but she has been nothing short of amazing in her support, and knows that if I didn’t do this I would end up dead before 50.  I can also tell you that for the first time in my life, my brain feels calm and relaxed.  It feels “right.”

I am sure by now you’re looking at this saying “What the fuck?” and probably stunned or questioning how this is possible, or if I’ve lost my mind, or any number of scenarios.  All I can say is that this is 100% real, and it isn’t going away.  However, much thought has gone into the process of my transition to do it in the most responsible way possible.  The next time you see me I will not be in makeup and a dress.  HRT takes time to make changes and some have started, but if you were to see me right now, I don’t look any different.  For all involved, including myself, I am making a slow transition, meaning that I don’t anticipate major changes to how I live for at least 1.5 to 2 years, but physical changes could speed up or slow that timetable down.  My plan is to have a first round of surgeries before I’d go full time, and typically good surgeons want you to be on HRT for 1-2 years before they would even do surgery.

As for name and pronouns…I am good with the current ones for now.  I don’t expect people to call me she if I’m still out as a man in most ways.  I’m sure there will come a time when I want that to change, but for now I am ok.  When that time comes I will let you know, and we can deal with it then.

Now for my personal note to you:

I’ve been calling you less than I usually do, because it has been so hard not to tell you, and when I don’t I feel like I’m lying to you.  I have this huge thing going on and I’m not sharing it with the biggest cheerleader I’ve ever had.  Growing up I always felt like I was closer to you than dad.  That isn’t to say I loved you more, but that I identified with you more than him, regardless of how hard I tried to identify and be like him.  I had similar interests to you, was able to talk to you more easily, and I wanted desperately to be more like you, but I also knew I wasn’t, and most of my childhood believed that I could never be, so what was the point in wishing for something I could never have.

I did try on your clothes/cross dress up until a certain age.  I started to do this in 3rd grade.  I can still remember the first time I did it.  I’m sorry for that invasion of your privacy, and I can’t tell you why I did it the first time, but once I started I couldn’t stop until I got too big, and then I stopped because of a couple incidents where I did get caught by both you and dad.

I don’t want to rehash the past, or play the “what if?” game.  We talked in September about what would you have done if you and dad had to deal with this in the early 80s, and how you wouldn’t have known what to do.  Nobody would have.  It’s not like I ever said anything, and I don’t think there is any way you could have known.  I also don’t want you and dad to beat yourselves up over the fact that it took me until my forties to come out.  This isn’t on either of you, or anything you did or didn’t do.  It just is, and I wasn’t able to put words to it until recently.

I think you know how hard this is for me to tell you, and I hope you can still love me, and that you will still want to be a part of my life, but I also must accept as I write this that there is the chance that I could be completely wrong, and so I partly write and send a letter to protect myself.  Next to Wife, there are three people in the world that have the power to lift me up and the power to destroy me.  You, Dad, and Brother are those three people.  As for the rest, I couldn’t give two shits what they think.  I’m past worrying about pleasing others, or trying to be what I think they want me to be.

When you decide to pick up the phone and call me I want you to remember the following things as they are important to me.  Please do not call me in disbelief, anger, or the notion that you can get me to change my mind, or that this is a joke, or that it’s a phase, or that I’ve lost my mind.  Those things are non-starters for me.  Also, please don’t tell me that I’m going to fast…I’m 43 now, and have known I was different since 5…there is no such thing as too fast from where I stand. 

So what can we talk about?  You can ask me questions, about the past, about me currently, or about the future.  You can ask me how I’m doing.  You can give me your love and support.  You can simply talk to me like you always have.  I’m still the same person on the inside, except I no longer feel burdened by having to hide things in my private life.

If I don’t hear from you, then I will know you can’t accept it yet, or you have anger and other issues to work through, and that is ok.  I will have to accept that, learn to deal with it, and live my life, because I can’t go backwards.

Please help Dad and Brother to understand if they need it.  You are my mom, and I think of everyone you may accept it faster than they do.  I can’t imagine a world where you would give up on me, or Dad for that matter, even if this is one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to deal with as parents.  Dad can’t talk to me and ask questions, but he can email me or text me if he needs to, and I will tell him that.  I know you guys will be worried and scared for me, and as my parents I would expect nothing else.  I am scared and worried for myself at times, but I also know that I don’t have a choice in this…for the first time I understand why someone might want to kill themselves over this, because I know the circumstances where I would do so, and it is a sobering realization. 

Finally, I want you to know that I will be ok, and that I know what I am doing, as much as anyone can.  I’m actually looking forward to what the future brings…for the first time in my life.  I hope that you will be part of that future, and I hope to hear from you soon.

I love you,

My Style…Right Now

Secret-Shopping-Tricks

So, if you follow me on Twitter or are a friend on Facebook then you know that I have mailed out my “Coming Out” letters to family.  As such, I’m nervous and anxious, so I figured I’d stick to a light and fun post today…and leave the serious post for after I hear back from my parents.  There is much I want to talk about on that front, but will save that for early next week most likely.

With that being said, I wanted to talk about the expansion of my expression last week, and how away from work it is very hard for me to simply wear “guy” clothes anymore.  However, there is a vast array of clothing that fits my casual style, and can present more androgynous if the outfit is put together a certain way.  I’m not one for skirts and dresses yet, because I simply do not have the body for either, and at least for me I won’t wear things that don’t make me look good.  Just because I love the red patterned pencil skirt paired with the creme colored silk 3/4 sleeve blouse in the window at the mall doesn’t mean I think it will look good on me.  Wearing things that make me feel “mannish” doesn’t make me feel better or pretty, it makes me feel horrible.  Just because they make it in my size, also doesn’t mean it will look good on me, and it is a must that however I present…I do it well.

So, all that said, what do I buy and what do I wear?  I know style, and I dressed my wife for years.  I put together outfits that look good on me, and fit my sense of self.  I am an outdoorsy hippie girl for the most part, and so my casual style reflects that.  I am also a trans woman in her early forties, and so I also keep that in mind.  The idea is to present well, and not to get clocked.  I’m all for another girl wearing what she wants, but I don’t need to wear dresses and heels to tell me I’m a female.  This seems to be an overriding assumption of many people that trans women have to wear dresses and makeup…and it’s bullshit.

I’m an athlete who loves to play soccer, and I’m a backpacker with over 3,000 miles hiked…I wear clothing that suits who I am…not who the world thinks I should be.  So feel free to check out some of the items I bought to allow me to feel more comfortable in my own skin as my transition moves along.

Before getting into my clothing purchases below, I wanted to highlight something and that is the beauty of online shopping.  Currently I wear a 14/16 in pants, and am certain my ass looks better than most women who wear the same size (cis or trans), but I wear an 18/20 (XXL) in tops, unless tanks and then I can wear an XL in most.   For the trans woman just beginning to spread her wings most major retailers offer extended sizing and the freedom to shop without the constant lurking sales girl who tends to follow you throughout an actual physical store.  Most retailers offer free returns, and so I make it a habit of ordering what I want in multiple sizes as I’m between two at the moment.  I can try things on in the comfort of my home and return the sizes that do not work for me.  This is especially nice for foundational wear, as I’m nowhere near the point where I feel comfortable going into a dressing room to try on bras, etc.

Now…onto the clothing (I’ve included hyper links to all clothing still available online for anyone interested)…and I will note that the only thing I’ve actually tried on to date is a pair of jeans I already own.  The rest will be arriving in the coming days.

North Face Mascot Ringer T-Shirts

For me, after a day of work I am all about comfort, as I am most weekends.  Still being bigger in the shoulders and back it isn’t easy to find women’s shirts in XXL sizing.  North Face does carry a large number.  I love these colors and graphics…and can layer with long sleeve shirts underneath on a winter day along with a fleece or down vest.

North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pants

Being a soccer player and hiker I have bigger legs, which are still heavily muscled.  I actually like my legs, but not all pants seem to fit them.  The Aphrodite pant is perfect for the outdoors or for just chilling around town.  I spend most of my time outside of work running around with the kids, and so casual is what I want.  The pants are definitely for women, but also don’t bring a second glance in public which is what I want where I currently am at in transition.

North Face Morninglory 2 Jacket

North Face Morninglory 2 Fleece Jacket

Again, bigger shoulders means I need to deemphasize.  It also means I need to find XXL jackets and the Morninglory 2 fits that bill.  I got it in the vintage white above, and can’t wait for it to come.  This is much more my style for winters in north Georgia.

Prana Halle Pants & Prana Louisa Pants

These pants are right up my alley (no pun intended!).  I’ve had my eye on the Louisa pants for awhile and and the Halle pants come recommended by a friend as her go to pants.  Again, they’re the perfect about town pants, or equally as good for outdoor gatherings which suits me just fine.

Keen Jasper

Keen Jasper

So, I bought these shoes because I needed some cute outdoorsy shoes, and I’ve loved the Keen brand for awhile.  Obviously I bought these with the clothes that I’m getting in mind.  The link above is to the woman’s shoe, but they also have them in many of the same colors in men’s sizing for us gals with bigger feet.  I’ve already got my eye on the black ones with the purple laces, but went with the ones above for my initial purchase.

American Eagle Skinny Jeans & American Eagle Skinny Kick Jeans

I LOVE American Eagle jeans.  I’ve bought the male versions for awhile, and already have a lighter pair of the women’s skinny jeans which are my favorite pair now.  They have just the right amount of stretch, and I think my legs look great in them.  I decided to order the darker pair of skinny, and then after finding my old cowboy boots decided to go ahead and get the Kick Jeans as well.  Online AEO sells them in extended sizing up to 20, and in short, regular, long, and extra long.

Gap Sweater

Gap Long-Sleeved Open Front Cardigan

Love these over-sized sweaters as they de-emphasize the shoulders and can be worn with just about anything.  They’re also usually super comfy.  I already have a similar one from American Eagle, and decided to take a chance on this one from Gap as I got it for less than half the original price on Cyber Monday.  I usually need a Tall, but am hoping that the regular XXL will do the trick as I want it to fit more loosely on me.  For me, I’m all about over-sized sweaters and have a feeling these will be staple in my wardrobe for some time to come.

Gap Bralette

Gap Seamless Racerback Bralette

I am at the point that I do need some extra support at times, or by the end of the day I can be somewhat sore.  As I’m not a fan of pain I’ve gone to wearing bralettes under tank tops and shirts now.  I’m hoping that these seamless ones will hide better under male dress shirts and so I picked up one in the above color and one in white.

Aerie Boybrief & Aerie Hi-Cut Bikini

Aerie is becoming a staple in my closet, and while designed for younger women…I love their stuff and find it well made.  I’m especially falling in love with their undies.  Made of better materials than what Victoria’s Secret is using today, I decided to start switching over as I’m about to go down an undie size.  Last week they were running a crazy deal, 10 pairs for $35!  Too good to pass up so I ordered ten pairs all in my smaller size.  I’m a huge fan of their Shine line, but have also decided to try a couple other materials with this order.  The Boybrief is akin to most lines’ hipster undies, and when they have them the hi-cut bikinis are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn, considering the junk I have to smuggle around…plus their undies are just plain cute.

                       Kavu Rope Sling Bag & Kavu Mondo Spender Wallet

One thing most women know is that women’s pants pockets are almost purely decoration, and so I am sick of carrying things in my hands whenever I wear them.  Plus I also have a need/desire to start carrying more things with me.  The Kavu bag is outdoorsy, which fits my style, and is androgynous enough to fill the role of a first purse/bag for me.  Obviously, I also need a wallet as I can’t stand the wallet bulge that is really noticeable in women’s jeans.  This is a big step for me, and I actually can’t wait for them to come in the mail.

 

So, now those who follow me have a pretty good idea of my casual style in the evening and on weekends.  All told I spent close to $1,000 this week, but considering I have almost nothing in my female wardrobe any woman knows that really isn’t much money at all.  Depending on how everything fits once it comes in, I may order another pair of Prana pants, and a couple more North Face t-shirts, but we’ll see how that goes.

HRT: One Month Update

one_month_anniversary_greeting_card-r21cef66669a04f0b83739bab524f8b64_xvuat_8byvr_512Hard to believe I’ve been on HRT for one month already.  When I took my first dose of three little pills I was ecstatic.  Finally!  I would start down the road of aligning my body with my mind, and I went into it with zero preconceived notions of what would happen first, or how it would affect me exactly.  I certainly had hopes or a wishlist of sorts in how it would begin to change my me, but to anyone who has been on it for a month or a year we all know that there are many factors that will determine how we are affected and how fast things begin to happen.

Now, in general most professionals use the following chart or similar guidelines that detail the:

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It should be understood that these are only generalizations, and as stated genetics, age, starting dosage, and absorption of blockers and hormones will all impact this.  Environmental factors such as the use of nicotine (which is known to inhibit the absorption of estrogen), diet, etc. may also have varying degrees of impact on medical transition.

I can state without a doubt that some of the effects and changes discussed in  the chart have very clearly begun to happen in my body while other things have not.

Going down the list I want to touch upon each as it relates to me, and most of what I mention has been observed by a friend, my wife, or I have been able to measure it, and so can be confirmed.  At the end of talking about the list I will discuss changes in measurements from Day 1 to the start of my second month on HRT.

Now, on to the chart!

  • Body fat redistribution, 3-6 months?  For me, this started to make an appearance in my third week, and mainly presented in my abdomen on the right side and just a little bit on my butt.  The right side of my midsection has narrowed at my waist and my abs there appear to have an extra layer covering them which makes them less pronounced than the left side when I flex my abdominal muscles.  It is clearly visible, and when I asked my wife if she could see what has changed, she was able to point it out with out my needing to give her any hints.  As for my ass, very slight rounding to the bottom of my butt.  I’ve always had a typical flat “white man’s ass”…it is no longer “flat” but it certainly isn’t where I want it to be yet.  Yet, all the same, even the slightest change makes me happy on this front.
  • Decreased muscle mass/strength, 3-6 months?  Nope, again three weeks was where I began to notice an increase in muscle fatigue.  In addition, there has also been some muscle loss, although I haven’t noticed a huge decrease in muscle strength as of yet, except in a couple areas.  My forearms are noticeably sleeker and smaller.  My feet have also narrowed/begun to thin out, something my wife pointed out just a couple days ago was how my feet no longer look like “Fred Flinstone” feet. Instead, my toes look much thinner as do my feet.  Shoes are looser, but I still think this has to do, in part, with weight loss as well.  My shoulders have gotten smaller as well, but I’m not ready to claim this is HRT, and may very well simply be the result of not using those muscles anymore.  However, I can say that my pectoral muscles are shrinking, but are receding outward from my breastbone.  A month ago I could pinch my hand by flexing them.  I can no longer do this, and can a see a visible difference when flexing those muscles in the mirror.  In addition, measurements also support that I am losing muscle mass in many places.
  • Softening of skin/decrease of oiliness, 3-6 months?  Yeah, this guideline is bullshit as I know many girls who noticed a softening in the first month.  The skin on my face, my hand, and my whole body is softer.  My kids notice it, my wife notices it, and even friends have said to me they can see it in my face.  Oiliness has definitely decreased as well on my face.  If I do not moisturize, the skin around my eyes almost becomes chapped.
  • Decreased libido, 1-3 months?  Mmmm, maybe, and I say that because the way I see sex has already changed, but not sure if that is my libido.  Regardless, I don’t think about sex as much as I used to, and the urge to take care of “business” is not the same.  I still masturbate, but as I’ve discussed before, there is no urgent need to do it.  If the urge strikes and I have the time and inclination I do it.  If the urge strikes and I am busy, then I move on.  I also don’t think about sex all day long anymore.  In fact, when I do it is often to chuckle that I haven’t been thinking about it.
  • Decreased spontaneous erections, 1-3 months?  Again, maybe.  I still get morning wood, often when I have to pee in the morning, but otherwise at 43, these don’t happen anymore for me.  Being older I don’t have those problems, and am at the point where manual stimulation is needed.  I can still get erect enough for penetration, but physical contact is needed or nothing happening.
  • Erectile dysfunction, variable?  Probably, I don’t have ED yet, and so I cannot comment as to when this will happen.
  • Breast growth, 3-6 months? For me, this was week two, my nipples clearly changed.  At three weeks, it was obvious that I had a small amount of breast tissue on the underside of what were my “pecs”, and as a good friend said to me, “Hon, you don’t have pecs anymore, you have breasts”  This is clearly evident when comparing my chest to a picture I took of my naked torso a month before HRT.  My lower chest is most definitely drooping more, even though I have lost ten pounds since the pre-HRT pic was taken.  In addition I have definite breast buds, with breast tissue spreading out to both side from my nipples.  I had my wife not only look at, but also feel them.  She confirmed that I definitely have breast tissue.  I will also admit on breast development that it is completely random as to how fast development will occur and when it will begin.  There are girls like me who see breast growth earlier, and then there are those who see little in the first year.  Perhaps my size, existing fat, and genetics gave me the perfect storm, and while I have tissue, my breasts may not grow much in the next month.  Regardless my days of going shirtless in public are past me.
  • Decreased testicular volume, 3-6 months?  Mine still seem the same size, but they are reacting differently to stimulation.  I notice that they are more sensitive in a pleasurable way, and that just before orgasm, while they’ve always moved up, now they not only move up, but they climb up into my body as I’m about to orgasm.  This is something new, and I don’t know if it happens to others, but I just want to make note of it.
  • Decreased sperm production, variable?  I think this has started, but am not measuring it, just my own “scientific” observation.  I still have production, but it does seem that what comes out is a little less than before HRT.  In addition, I only have noticed a decrease beginning in the fourth week on HRT.
  • Hair in general, 6-12 months?  I can’t speak to this at all.  I haven’t noticed anything on this front.  In addition, I begin laser hair removal this coming Friday, and so that will obviously skew anything I do notice.
  • Male Pattern Baldness:  I don’t have MPB, and so I can’t speak to it, although I do have an area in the front of my hair line that hasn’t receded, but has thinned a little.  I am hoping it eventually comes back.  Girls I know, who have seen hair regrowth, have told me they didn’t see this happen until around the seven month mark, so I will keep an eye on my hairline, and report when I do notice something, if anything.

Now, as for measurements…well, I think there has been a significant change based upon measurements taken on day one, and at the end of the first month on HRT.

Day 1, Month 1 measurements:

  • Weight:  244lbs
  • Chest:  42.5 inches
  • Waist:  38 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  40 inches
  • Hips:  43 inches
  • Neck:  16 inches
  • Bicep:  15 inches
  • Wrist:  7 inches
  • Ankle:  9.5 inches

 

Day 1, Month 2 measurements

  • Weight:  238lbs
  • Chest:  41 inches
  • Waist:  36 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  38 inches
  • Hips:  41.5 inches
  • Neck:  15.5 inches
  • Bicep:  14.25 inches
  • Wrist:  6.75 inches
  • Ankle:  9 inches

Up until my first month on HRT, I had been averaging over ten pounds lost a month, but this past month I did not lose as much weight, and saw a significant loss in inches on my body.  I found this fascinating, as again, I literally lost an inch in some places going from week three to week four, at around the same time I noticed a change to the right side of my mid-section.

As for my face, other than skin I haven’t really noticed any changes.  It is possible that my chin is more prominent now, but that could also be due to weight loss, or simply to having had a beard for the past ten years.  My point is I don’t jump up to claim HRT did it, but I can’t argue with the difference in measurements.   I really am in awe of my body right now.

All this talk of body, and I haven’t talked about my brain at all, and this is where I am most happy with the changes from HRT.  The first week on HRT I felt awful, and then during the second week my brain began to right itself.  By the third week it felt like the storm in my brain had ceased, and for the first time I felt “right.”  It’s hard to describe, but I do see the world differently, and I’m more thoughtful now in how I might react to something said or done, and before I speak or react…most of the time.  My emotions are available to me, and sometimes they react before my brain, but I don’t mind this.  I have cried more in the past month than in the past ten years, and I wouldn’t give this up for the world.  A week ago, for the first time since I was a child, I had a cleansing cry that left me feeling lighter afterwards.  It was wonderful, for someone, who for most of her adult life was not able to cry even when she desperately wanted to.

Subconsciously, I have caught myself physically moving or expressing more in a feminine manner at times.  One of the first things I noticed is how I now cross my arms.  I realized about a week ago that I no longer cross my arms over my chest, and without conscious thought started to cross my arms under my chest.  This simple change amazed me.  Other things I’ve noticed might be the way I stand, sit, or hold something while walking, or simply the way I walk.  Whenever I notice something, and realize I wasn’t consciously doing it, I find myself laughing in amazement.  I only catch it maybe 2-5 times in a day, but the point is that these things aren’t happening with conscious thought.

I also am finding that I have to work harder to mask Allie, and be “him”.  It’s a chore I do not enjoy, but I do it for my job and family.  However, I do find myself wanting to avoid situations where I have to play “him”, and if it isn’t necessary I avoid placing myself in those situations.  I’ve even started cutting certain things out of my life in order to avoid playing boy.

I also finding a desire, at times, to battle my timetable for transition.  It’s the pubescent teenager in me that desires to run when the right thing to do is to walk.  My body is changing, but has a long way to go, and most of my changes can not be seen when clothed.  I’m not stupid about this, and luckily I have a wife and friends who are accepting that I am female, and who treat me as the woman I am.

I now find comfort and joy in female friendships.  I feel free to express as myself around friends I am out to, and I am lucky to have made some new friends in the past month.  It means so much to be accepted as myself.  While I have many wonderful friends on social media, and feel free to express to them, it is not the same as being able to get together to talk and spend physical time with other women.  Physical contact/presence really does affect me on a new level now, and in a way that is definitely positive for me.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how things are progressing on HRT, and am so happy that I’ve accepted myself and am moving forward.  The fact that my brain feels “right” is all the validation I need to know that transition is what I need most right now.  I can’t wait to see what “Month Two” has in store for me, and future months as well.  I will admit I can’t see myself in the mirror yet, but there have been a couple moments where I thought I almost could.  My body is another matter, and while still very masculine in build, there are also definitely feminine elements that are showing up when looking at my naked body, and that does help me to feel more feminine.  These positives often give me the gas I need to move through another week with a positive attitude.